There is no dining experience more Midwestern than a supperclub—except perhaps a supperclub with a brewery. This September, Birch’s Restaurant of Long Lake, Minnesota, will reopen in a new lakeside location as Birch’s on the Lake Brewhouse & Supperclub.
Moving from its former, smaller downtown location to the 12,000-square-foot space allowed Birch’s founder Burt Joseph to reinvigorate the supperclub concept he started in 2008, where blue-collar atmosphere meets fine dining, with a brewpub. All he needed was a brewer.
Fate intervened when the father of Brennan Greene, a St. Louis–based brewer looking to start his own brewpub, approached Joseph in November 2014. Intrigued, Joseph decided to meet with Brennan. After a three-hour conversation and tour of an vacant lakeside building, they knew this was the opportunity for which they had waited.
Another beautiful day up on the new roof. pic.twitter.com/OPmvrWujhR
— Birch’s on the Lake (@BirchsOnTheLake) June 26, 2015
Greene, a native of Orono, Minnesota, attended the World Brewing Academy in Chicago and Munich, and got a job at St. Louis–based Schlafly Brewing Company in 2006. He worked his way up to head brewer of the Schlafly Tap Room, a 15-barrel brewpub where he brewed hundreds of styles over the course of eight years, before deciding it was time to strike out on his own. “I knew pretty early on that I wanted to just have a brewpub,” says Greene, Birch’s co-owner and head brewer. “You know, have all that fun with the experimentation, but also to have that ability to make sure the beer is always at peak condition.” Minnesota’s brewpub model, where beer can only be sold in-house, aligns perfectly with Greene’s brewing philosophy and reflects Joseph’s standards for the supperclub. “We’re independent; we’re of an owner who is hands-on. I may bring your food out, I may clear your food, I may seat you—and that’s the same mentality of the staff of the restaurant,” Joseph explains. “We’re not here to multiply, we’re here to maximize our potential and create an experience.” Birch’s on the Lake is the latest in a long history of supperclubs that called the enormous cabin-style building home, including the iconic Hanson House and Billy’s Lighthouse, which closed in 2006. Joseph and Green took possession in April and spent five months renovating the building to accommodate the first-floor brewpub and second-floor supperclub.
The supperclub will serve classics like prime rib, relish trays, and fried fish, but also modern dishes like smoked fish platters, moules frites, and beer-braised short ribs. Downstairs, the brewpub will offer a beer hall menu to complement Greene’s craft beer. Birch’s also boasts a massive outdoor patio overlooking Long Lake to while away the last warm summer nights.
The 10-barrel brewhouse will make use of six 10-barrel fermenters and eight 10-barrel serving tanks to produce an ever-rotating lineup of “experimental American” beers from Greene’s recipe book, including a series of coffee beers and a pilsner–blonde ale hybrid using ale yeast.
Serving tanks in place. No kegs in this brewery. pic.twitter.com/4rzRdeMmJN
— Birch’s on the Lake (@BirchsOnTheLake) August 12, 2015
“Every local neighborhood needs a brewpub,” Greene firmly declares. “[…] Everyone in that neighborhood will go there and it will become a community gathering place, and the whole neighborhood and city will be better off for it.”
Brewer: Brennan Greene
Beer: Rotating selection always featuring a coffee beer, hoppy beers, and eventually sours
Visit: 1310 W Wayzata Blvd, Long Lake, MN
Hours: Visit Birch’s on the Lake’s website for hours of operation